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Development as Flourishing and Peace

The international conference on “Peace Economics, Peace Science, Development and Conflict Management” was held in 21- 23 July, 2023 at ABBS School of Management in Bangalore.

ABBS Shool of Management in Bangalore.

Laszlo Zsolnai gave a lecture on  “Development as Flourishing and Peace” for the conference. His starting point was Amartya Sen’s conception of “development as freedom”. Sen suggests to understand development as the reduction of unfreedom (including poverty and discrimination) and growth in freedom (including political and civil liberties and human capabilities).

Zsolnai argued that “flourishing” is a central concept in development. Flourishing means a vigorous and healthy growth toward self-realization. This applies to all living systems (human and non-human beings alike). Two case studies were  used from India to illustrate how human and ecological flourishing can be promoted. One case is the Piplantri village in Rajasthan where the life of girls and the natural environment are saved in a concerted way. The other case is Organic India in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh where the livelihood and the thriving of local farmers and their communities is provided while the quality of the soil is increased and the natural environment is regenerated.

Zsolnai discussed the case of Costa Rica to show that peace and flourishing is interconnected. Costa Rica is the best country in the world considering human and ecological wellbeing combined. The country started to embrace peace following the civil war in 1948. Costa Rica adopted a progressive constitution that allowed the country to pursue a unique social and environmental development path by expanding military expenses on education, health care, and environmental conservation. Its “pura vida” ideal emphasizes simplicity, joy and a pure way of life. Costa Ricans turned their country into a nature paradise.